I have the cutest nephew in the world! He is five and will be in kindergarten in the fall. His name is Johnny and there’s not many secrets you can keep from this curious little boy. I taught him to catch Cicadas right before the molt and get their wings. He enjoyed watching them emerge so much, he caught three more while I was at work and brought them all inside. Never being afraid of dirt or water, he takes to tramping about the farm like a true farmer and wades in where he thinks he’s needed (usually not needed). He likes to help in the garden but his favorite pastime is fishing.
Johnny would fish everyday all day if you let him. He is not afraid of big snapping turtles but had a fear of box turtles until he saw his Aunt Arie, pick one up. Now, Aunt Arie is cautious of the snappers because she knows how dangerous the bites can be! Johnny really wants a gold fish.
I am Aunt Arie. I recently gained the “a” and am very proud of it! Pop taught Johnny to call me by my middle name, Marie, because he is onrey and knows I hate my middle name. I was Rie for the longest time and gave up on him saying my name at all. Sometimes Johnny gets shy and calls me “Ananda,” because of the other kids who come to play.
One day this precocious child looked at me. When I met his eyes, I saw the trust, faith and love he held for me. He believes that I will never lie to him, nor let him get hurt or, ever hurt him. I never plan to. I can’t hurt the nephew I cherish, especially not since he has shown such a precious treasure to me. Realization struck me like a weight, pushing me beneath the surface and filling me with joy and love and fear.
Fear that I will one day, somehow, fail this precious child and he will change from the wonderful gem that he is. I fear because he is always watching me and I am far from perfect. I make mistakes, tell fibs, and don’t keep my promises. I do my best to teach him and quietly encourage him on the right path. This weight he’s placed on me is a good one. It anchors me on my path, allowing me time to weigh my own decisions against the longer road ahead. I want to be everything he believes me to be.